THUNDER BAY – Six years ago, Susan Fraser noticed the work of an extraordinary group of people and set out to join them. “I was inspired by their commitment to finding innovative ways to fund and operate a world-class facility and provide world-class healthcare for the people of Northwestern Ontario,” Fraser recalls.
Today, she leads that group as Chair of the Board of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Fraser was voted into the position in June, and brings to it her background in governance, accountability, transparency and leadership.
Fraser feels the Board’s level of dedication remains as strong as ever, and has resulted in several changes since she joined in 2006. For example, the Patient and Family Centred Care model was adopted. “We used to do it, now we live and breathe it,” Fraser explains. “Our accomplishments have been great. The past Chair, Angèle Brunelle, deserves much credit for leading them.”
Fraser is focused on continued improvements to patient care. Ensuring the success of the Strategic Plan is priority one. “We have four strategic directions to guide our activities – Aboriginal Health; Chronic Disease Prevention and Management; Comprehensive Clinical Services; and Mental Health and Addictions. It is important that we recognize the complexity of the environment, but the simplicity of our goal – healthy together,” she says.
Fraser believes collaborative relationships are critical to the success of the Strategic Plan. “We are an academic health sciences centre, and in that regard, I feel very strongly, the need to support and respect partners such as the Northern Ontario Medical School, the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. Their work is integral to our success.”
Fraser is driven by her conviction that the people of the north deserve nothing but the best in healthcare. Her belief is reflected in the strategic vision of the Health Sciences Centre.
“This is a dynamic and ever-changing environment. We face challenges ever-mindful of the patient and family as the centre of care and as partners in care. That is how we will continue to succeed.”
Fraser’s vision of the future is bright. “Cardiovascular surgery is on the horizon as are a number of other initiatives to our betterment,” she says. Fraser also looks forward to an increased focus on healthy lifestyles. “Everyone is responsible for making the right choices. I hope that, here in Northwestern Ontario, we can collectively make that decision to be ‘healthy together’.”
Andrée Robichaud, President & CEO of the Health Sciences Centre, looks says Fraser is an effective leader. “She has clearly demonstrated her commitment to the organization and, more importantly, to patients and families. Susan has the ability to form strong relationships, and is a strategic thinker focused on governance,” Robichaud notes.